Lexicomp Gradebook (EGS) 2000

Everything about vintage DOS based Palmtops goes in here...
molleraj
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Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:36 am
Favorite Palmtop: Lexicomp_Gradebook_2000

Re: Lexicomp Gradebook (EGS) 2000

Post by molleraj »

OK, I finally got the machine! The construction is quite impressive and satisfying. The screen is simply delightful relative to every other small DOS machine I have, except my now "dead" Fujitsu Poqet PC Plus (bad hinge).

My machine is missing serial/parallel and battery covers (see below). I checked with the vintage computer enthusiast friend who gave me this to see if he accidentally misplaced these covers, as the eBay listings suggest the palmtops included them. If he never got these pieces, it would be great if someone could take enough pictures so that I could have both 3D printed at my local makerspace.

Battery cover:

Image

Serial/parallel ports uncovered:

Image

This is what is under the EPROM cover.

Image

It looks like my machine has a 512Kb EPROM (27C4000DC = 4MBit = 512K X 8).

After replacing the batteries and pressing the reset button for a long while, huzzah! The palmtop sprang to life.

Voila! MS-Works in ROM!

Image

Command-line setup utility:

Image

I need to figure out how to get arrow key mouse emulation going as well as the maximum amount of extended memory possible. I am pretty sure I have more than 1MB of RAM total (704K for DOS plus extended memory and RAM disk).

My machine also has a modem built-in.

Image

More pictures and videos will be coming soon!

molleraj
Regular user
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:36 am
Favorite Palmtop: Lexicomp_Gradebook_2000

Re: Lexicomp Gradebook (EGS) 2000

Post by molleraj »

I just tried using 32MB and 1GB CF cards in my Gradebook 2000 and failed. It seems sdpdrv.sys is not activated in config.sys on the C (ROM) drive (rem device=sdpdrv.sys).

How can I use an alternative config.sys/autoexec.bat (with sdpdrv.sys activated)? There doesn't seem to be a RAM drive boot option in the setup. Can I boot from CF cards directly? What CF cards have you been able to use with the palmtop (and how have you been able to use them)?

I also see the poor battery life you mentioned. After two days I went through one set of three alkaline AAs. Sheesh.

Edit: After a few minutes, a change of batteries, and putting the original "dead" batteries back, we are back to normal. Weird.

molleraj
Regular user
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:36 am
Favorite Palmtop: Lexicomp_Gradebook_2000

Re: Lexicomp Gradebook (EGS) 2000

Post by molleraj »

molleraj wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:36 am
My machine is missing serial/parallel and battery covers (see below). I checked with the vintage computer enthusiast friend who gave me this to see if he accidentally misplaced these covers, as the eBay listings suggest the palmtops included them. If he never got these pieces, it would be great if someone could take enough pictures so that I could have both 3D printed at my local makerspace.
It turns out he was sold the machine without these covers. It would be great if I could get some cover photos so I can 3D print replacements.
I need to figure out how to get arrow key mouse emulation going as well as the maximum amount of extended memory possible. I am pretty sure I have more than 1MB of RAM total (704K for DOS plus extended memory and RAM disk).
molleraj wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:25 am
I just tried using 32MB and 1GB CF cards in my Gradebook 2000 and failed. It seems sdpdrv.sys is not activated in config.sys on the C (ROM) drive (rem device=sdpdrv.sys).

How can I use an alternative config.sys/autoexec.bat (with sdpdrv.sys activated)? There doesn't seem to be a RAM drive boot option in the setup. Can I boot from CF cards directly? What CF cards have you been able to use with the palmtop (and how have you been able to use them)?
@Kyodai - any thoughts on these issues? Your help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

Kyodai
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Re: Lexicomp Gradebook (EGS) 2000

Post by Kyodai »

Sorry for the late reply, was a very stressful week so far....

Sorry, can't see any of your photos. I see they are links to googlecontent but even when I copy them into another browser it won't show anything.

Funny that you come up with 3D printing covers as I just gave a friend around a dozen of them like 2 weeks ago. So far He only finished the button cell cover for the Sharp PC-3000 and the button cell cover for the Memorex. Actually we wanted to make replicas of pretty much every battery cover and port latch that we can. Due to having like 40ish palmtops in my collection you guess that I'm also missing loads of these for various palmtops...

I just got the Gradebook out. And I can see the trouble.

Well you have seen the BIOS option. I think if you load config.sys from ROM the option is always REMed out, unfortunately. I must admit I think I only used it with SRAM cards. Then you can obviously put any system and config on the card that you like to. I definitely DID use CF with their evil twin - the LC-8600, but as these came with a harddisk editing config.sys was obviously easier.

No idea why sdpdrv.sys is commented out. It doesn't seem to make much sense. I think there was a tool called "DEVLOD" that you could use to load drivers AFTER boot. Gotta see if I still have it on some old backup. If you have an SRAM card you could just boot from that first.

On a side note - on C: there's the absetup tool which lets you disable unwanted ports and such stuff to save some power.

If I don't forget imma take some photos later. If my buddy has already made some slt for the lexicomp I can also send you that.

molleraj
Regular user
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:36 am
Favorite Palmtop: Lexicomp_Gradebook_2000

Re: Lexicomp Gradebook (EGS) 2000

Post by molleraj »

Kyodai wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:14 pm
Sorry for the late reply, was a very stressful week so far....

Sorry, can't see any of your photos. I see they are links to googlecontent but even when I copy them into another browser it won't show anything.
That's strange! I can see all of them fine, but then again I am the source of the photos (my Google account). Is there any other way I could post photos? Maybe an Imgur link or something? It doesn't look like I can upload photos directly.
Funny that you come up with 3D printing covers as I just gave a friend around a dozen of them like 2 weeks ago. So far He only finished the button cell cover for the Sharp PC-3000 and the button cell cover for the Memorex. Actually we wanted to make replicas of pretty much every battery cover and port latch that we can. Due to having like 40ish palmtops in my collection you guess that I'm also missing loads of these for various palmtops...
Nice! If you get them for the Gradebook I'd appreciate it if you could send me the .stl file for 3D printing.
I just got the Gradebook out. And I can see the trouble.

Well you have seen the BIOS option. I think if you load config.sys from ROM the option is always REMed out, unfortunately. I must admit I think I only used it with SRAM cards. Then you can obviously put any system and config on the card that you like to. I definitely DID use CF with their evil twin - the LC-8600, but as these came with a harddisk editing config.sys was obviously easier.
That really sucks. I tried the BIOS PC card boot option (with 32MB CF inserted, containing copies of config.sys with "device=sdpdrv.sys" and autoexec.bat) with no success, but I might not have been paying close enough attention. What drive should the CF card be? A? B? F?

I ended up having to stop playing around with the CF card last night due to an unexpected problem. For some reason last night, I had trouble resetting the palmtop - after putting in the batteries I just get all the status LEDs on continuously, even after pressing down the reset button for a long time. I also had this problem when I first tried out the palmtop, but pressing the reset button for a while did the trick...probably after an hour of trial and error. I wonder if there is a bad cap in the reset circuit, or something else. I'd like to hear your thoughts.
No idea why sdpdrv.sys is commented out. It doesn't seem to make much sense. I think there was a tool called "DEVLOD" that you could use to load drivers AFTER boot. Gotta see if I still have it on some old backup. If you have an SRAM card you could just boot from that first.
I do have a 2MB SRAM card (as well as 256K and 1MB). If I can somehow get the needed files on that, I would just boot(strap) from it and then switch to CF. Also DEVLOAD sounds really good. It might be easiest to transfer that to the RAM drive and go from there.

Oh well, I guess I could always burn another EPROM (hahaha - too hard), if I ever figure out which one is the C drive and what the model number is (I don't think config.sys/autoexec.bat is on the 27C4000 EPROM).
On a side note - on C: there's the absetup tool which lets you disable unwanted ports and such stuff to save some power.
Yes, I used that to turn off the parallel port.
If I don't forget imma take some photos later. If my buddy has already made some slt for the lexicomp I can also send you that.
Yes, .stl files would be great! Both for the port latch and battery cover. Thank you so much! Time to use my 3D printing coupon (200g or something for free) at my local makerspace!

Kyodai
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Re: Lexicomp Gradebook (EGS) 2000

Post by Kyodai »

Photos - yeah something like imgur or so would do I guess. I had a public image uploader here long ago but since people abused it with....questionable pics...I kinda ran into trouble with my hoster.

My buddy has no idea about palmtops, so he doesn't even know to which palmtop the parts belong he already produced. Imma see him saturday evening, I hope he got good news by then.

I think on flash the config won't matter since it lacks the ability to boot from flash. Anyways - PCMCIA (SRAM) would be drive a:.

No idea about the reset. Might be some capacitors. Try removing all batteries and let it cool down for a while. Crossing my thumbs.

If you have any old laptop with PCMCIA it's easy to copy stuff to the SRAM card. On Windows 95/98 (I think ME has the support built-in) just add these lines to config.sys:

Device = C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\CSMAPPER.SYS
Device = C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\CARDDRV.EXE /SLOT=2

Format the SRAM card in the palmtop. Saves much trouble.

If you need devlod then just holler. I have an old PC in the attic that I'm sure has it somewhere.


I think the EPROM is like drive E: - too lazy to check now but I think that was the one with the gradebook stuff. I think D: was a ram drive. or vice versa. I'm just tired. I'm sure C: is a ROM.

molleraj
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Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:36 am
Favorite Palmtop: Lexicomp_Gradebook_2000

Re: Lexicomp Gradebook (EGS) 2000

Post by molleraj »

Kyodai wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:24 pm
Photos - yeah something like imgur or so would do I guess. I had a public image uploader here long ago but since people abused it with....questionable pics...I kinda ran into trouble with my hoster.
No problem. Here are the pictures on Imgur: https://imgur.com/gallery/RmzK9kZ
My buddy has no idea about palmtops, so he doesn't even know to which palmtop the parts belong he already produced. Imma see him saturday evening, I hope he got good news by then.
That's too bad! Hopefully that works out. Keep me posted.
I think on flash the config won't matter since it lacks the ability to boot from flash. Anyways - PCMCIA (SRAM) would be drive a:.

No idea about the reset. Might be some capacitors. Try removing all batteries and let it cool down for a while. Crossing my thumbs.
I just tried again (replaced the AAs after a day sitting with no batteries inside) - still no success. A power adapter for it is coming tomorrow, so hopefully I will have better luck then.

Regarding the capacitors, I am going to open it up and see. You said it uses a CR2025 as a backup battery, but I don't see any slot/cover for one. Maybe it uses a NiCd battery for backup that is long dead (hopefully not leaking?!). Anyhow, I shall see.
If you have any old laptop with PCMCIA it's easy to copy stuff to the SRAM card. On Windows 95/98 (I think ME has the support built-in) just add these lines to config.sys:

Device = C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\CSMAPPER.SYS
Device = C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\CARDDRV.EXE /SLOT=2

Format the SRAM card in the palmtop. Saves much trouble.
I don't have any Win95/98 PCs, sadly. Just Win7 and Win10 - far too new for SRAM cards. I do have 95LXs, a 100LX, a 200LX, and a Poqet PC Plus that could all format SRAM cards, on the other hand.
If you need devlod then just holler. I have an old PC in the attic that I'm sure has it somewhere.
I do need it. Can I download it from here - https://www.infradead.org/devload/?
I think the EPROM is like drive E: - too lazy to check now but I think that was the one with the gradebook stuff. I think D: was a ram drive. or vice versa. I'm just tired. I'm sure C: is a ROM.
C: is ROM and has config.sys and autoexec.bat. D: is ROM and has DOS utilities plus MS-Works. E: is the RAM drive. I think I read in Usenet that F: is the flash drive location set by SDPDRV.SYS, at least in the Lexmark Lexbook MB-10/MB-15.

molleraj
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Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:36 am
Favorite Palmtop: Lexicomp_Gradebook_2000

Re: Lexicomp Gradebook (EGS) 2000

Post by molleraj »

One other question - do you have power adapters for the EGS 2000, LC-8600, and LC-8620? What are the specs? Center-positive, 5VDC, 1A? What are the inner and outer diameters of the jack? I tried a 5V, 2.5A, center-positive supply, but the machine failed to turn on. Perhaps it has the wrong jack size. I still can't properly reset with the batteries I have now. Let me know.

Also, I opened up the case and found a supercapacitor (on the bottom of the motherboard) rather than a CR2025 or NiCd backup battery. Perhaps this has gone bad after 20+ years. I am guessing this is what is used for memory backup (and I guess the reset circuit).

Kyodai
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Joined: Fri May 15, 2015 7:33 pm

Re: Lexicomp Gradebook (EGS) 2000

Post by Kyodai »

Unfortunately I don't have any AC adaptors for the Lexicomp. Interesting that it has a supercapacitor, I don't think I know any other computer that uses it.

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